Caring For Japanese Teapots

Tea is an important part of Japanese history and culture. Along with this
history comes Japanese teapots. These teapots are hand-cast by specialized
artists and are often decorated with ornate designs that express the Japanese
culture.  They are wonderful examples of Japanese art and many of them are
highly prized by collectors.  In order to preserve their aesthetic appeal and
durability it is important that they are properly maintained.  There are two
common types of Japanese teapots: Tetsubin and Yixing.  The two types are very
different in the ways they are made and in the materials they are made from and
therefore should be treated differently when it comes to caring for them.

Tetsubin


Tetsubin teapots are the oldest in Japanese rituals and are constructed by
master artists from hand-cast iron. Often elaborately decorated with intricate
engravings and hand-paintings, these teapots are commonly sought after among
people from all cultures. When caring for a Tetsubin teapot, it is very
important that one not use chemicals while cleaning either the outside or inside of
the teapot in order to preserve the appearance. Cleaning and caring for
Tetsubin is rather simple, as it is only necessary to rinse the entire teapot
thoroughly and wipe down with a dry cloth. For maximum effect, this process
should be done approximately two to three times. If Tetsubin becomes rusted, it
can be treated by boiling water along with tealeaves in the pot for about
twenty minutes.

Yixing


Unlike the cast-iron material of Tetsubin teapots, Yixing teapots are hand
crafted with a special type of clay, which is valued for its
ability to significantly enhance the natural flavors of the tea. It
is recommended when using a Yixing teapot that only one chosen tea is brewed
within them as this will provide the greatest taste. Over time, as the
tea is brewed, the Yixing clay will absorb the flavors, each time
enhancing the taste. Before using these teapots, season or
cure them first by brewing a few pots of tea. Doing this will extract the taste
of clay. Each seasoning pot should be left to cure for about thirty minutes
prior to use. There are some general rules that should be followed when caring
for Yixing in order to ensure that the best quality and use is achieved. Be
sure to never use a towel to dry the clay or the use of soap as these will
both diminish the appearance and impact the quality of taste. Fire,
microwaves and other forms of intense heat should also be avoided. Instead,
opt for brewing tea within a separate teapot prior to using Yixing.

Both of these types of teapots can be preserved not only for years but also
generations if they are properly cared for.  Especially for those who love tea
and Japanese art, they make both a beautiful and practical addition to one's
home.

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